I’d like you to close your eyes for a second and picture the most inspirational leader you can think of?
Whether they are a renowned business owner, executive, politician, or someone who has personally mentored you, I assure you they have made plenty of mistakes; and they have failed countless times before.
Like you, they are human.
Failure is part of the journey you’re on, and no matter how much you would like to avoid it, you cannot. Instead, you must learn how to better handle it and overcome it. This is what I’ve learned after interviewing 200+ entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders over the last five years.
They don’t always avoid failure, but they do overcome it better than most. This is how…
How Successful Leaders Overcome Failure
As a leader, your job is to lead. Those around you need you to step up to the plate when adversity strikes (which it will on a regular basis). You cannot avoid this, so you must instead learn to embrace it and overcome it.
This is what successful leaders do, and there are six reasons why they are capable of turning failure into success (time-and-time again).
#1: They Communicate
You do not overcome failure on your own. You don’t overcome it by lying or keeping the truth to yourself. It takes a team; your team; the team you lead, and the team who you can lead to success.
One of the key aspects that separate successful leaders from everyone else, is that they remember communication is a two-way street. It isn’t just about what you say to others, but what they say to you.
You need to listen. You need to encourage ideas and collaboration. You must learn when to talk, and when to let those around you do the talking. This is the mark of a powerful leader, and it’s those who practice this that turn failure into success.
#2: They Focus on ONE Solution
When failure strikes, there is always a lot of things you can do, but often only ONE that you should.
As a powerful leader, it’s your job to not only figure this out, but ensure you and your whole team remain focussed on it.
Easier said than done, especially when the stakes are high.
Regardless, successful leaders are those who remain focussed on this ONE solution that will turn failure into success. Don’t get distracted by what you could do.
Instead, remain obsessed on what you should.
#3: They Are Humble
As Ryan Holiday says, ego is your enemy. It’s ego that ‘kids’ you into protecting yourself by hiding the facts, pretending an issue doesn’t exist, and refusing to let other people in on your failure.
Don’t fall into this trap.
You are not protecting yourself, and you do not protect your team. Failure happens, and refusing to face the music doesn’t change this. You need to own it, but not only this… you need to embrace it.
Place your ego to one side, and move forward with a humble swagger. There’s no shame in your mistake, but there is shame in trying to hide it. So although the powerful leaders you admire may seem tough and unmoved, they are humble beyond belief — especially when adversity strikes.
#4: They Focus on Progression
We live in a world obsessed with results; the all important outcome.
It’s not to say results don’t matter, because they do. Whatever your aim, it’s results that help you measure your success, and keep your team united. But although results help measure your success, they do not define your success.
This is never more clear than when failure strikes.
Successful leaders appreciate this, turning their focus on progression, instead of the outcome. Each day they strive for one thing: make today better than yesterday.
This is what they live and die by, and it’s this that helps them lead their team to success (maybe not today, but sometime soon).
#5: They Are Honest
Honesty is hard. It’s far easier to embellish the truth and exaggerate the numbers. It’s also easier to play down failure, and undervalue your mistakes. At times, you have to do this. You’re a leader, and the last thing you want is to create a panic.
Although white-lies can help, lies in general are not the answer.
True leaders lead with the truth. They let those who need the facts in on the ‘real’ facts. It may be a cliche to say honesty is the best policy, but isn’t it funny how this often is the case (I suppose cliches become a cliche for a reason).
#6: They DO NOT Dwell
Successful leaders are honest and humble, focus on the ONE solution that will help, and they communicate this with their team. They own it and do not hide from it, but they also DO NOT dwell on it.
To successful leaders, failure isn’t failure; it’s a lesson to grow and get better.
It’s an opportunity to turn a good idea into a great one, and produce a valuable lesson (both for themselves, and those they lead).
If you don’t want to make mistakes, lock yourself in your house and watch TV all day.
Assuming you would like to achieve something with your life, accept (and to an extent, embrace) failure.
It’s there to teach you, so don’t dwell on it or play the victim.
Don’t blame yourself on anyone else.
Own it, and then get back to work.
This is what successful leaders do, and this is how they overcome failure (time-and-time again). You can too, and it isn’t as hard or scary as you may think. Stick these six reasons on a prominent wall, and the next time adversity strikes, look at it.
And remember, you and only you get to choose what type of leader you would like to be.